There’s a feeling of unease that’s descended over UK bloggers in the last few weeks. Talk of blog disclosure, non-disclosure, do follow links, no follow links and loss of Page Rank as Google clamps down on people we know (by name) for breaching their clear terms and conditions.
It’s like the Twilight Zone blogger special as unscrupulous SEO agencies blatantly lie in any and every which way they can to score that undisclosed, paid follow link – but enough is enough.
Bloggers – and I mean all bloggers need to wake up and start towing the line because non disclosure is not only unethical, it’s also unlawful.
Despite what your average friendly ‘link building’ operative may have told you, disclosure is really pretty straightforward. It goes like this…
If you have been paid (in money, vouchers, air miles, chocolate, fluffy kittens or product of any kind) to write a post, or add a link to an old post then you have a legal obligation to declare that relationship in the body of the post.
The reason you have to declare that relationship is so that you don’t unduly influence the ‘average consumer’ into making a purchase that they wouldn’t have done without reading your post. So marking a post, brought to you by…, in conjunction with, guest post or any other ‘beat around the bush’ term just isn’t ok. Neither is adding a graphic image to the end of your post emblazoned with the scary S word that you are too afraid to type. Many readers have images turned off if they are reading via mobile device and again, it’s another tactic to try to sneak under the radar.
At the end of the day, a sponsored post is a sponsored post. END OF.
If you haven’t already familiarised yourself with the Internet Advertising Bureau UK’s Guidelines on the Payment for Editorial Content to Promote Brands within Social Media you need to, NOW.
Non disclosure is a breach of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Act 2008, it’s also unethical and prevalent amongst many blogger communities.
UPDATE : The ASA clarify the rules
We are all for best practice here at Cybher, how about you join us in that stance?